For the first time in a while, the big event in Fort Worth this weekend will be an art exhibition, one which features a noteworthy modern-day artist. Other options include an outdoor concert series, a theater festival, comedy, screenings of the year's best-reviewed film, concerts from some true Texans, a celebration of the cowboy, fun in a ballpark, a local theater production, and more.
Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, July 21
Kimbell Art Museum presents "SLAY: Artemisia Gentileschi & Kehinde Wiley"
Two paintings depicting different versions of the Old Testament story of Judith and Holofernes, one by Italian Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi and the other by American contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley, will be on view at the Kimbell Art Museum. Strikingly different renditions of the same subject realized exactly 400 years apart, the paintings will allow visitors to reflect on contemporary issues through a historical lens. Wiley, known for his monumental portraits of young Black men placed in historical poses and settings, also painted Barack Obama's official presidential portrait. The exhibition will be on display through October 9.
Panther Island Pavilion presents Rockin' the River
Rockin’ the River is back for a 11th year of music and tubing at Panther Island Pavilion. The event features a trio of bands playing back-to-back-to-back sets beginning around 5:15 pm on the Coors Light Waterfront Stage, while attendees watch from tubes and other floaties on the Trinity River. Performers this week will include headliner John Baumann, along with David Beck's Tejano Weekend and Lorena Leigh.
Amphibian Stage presents Spark Fest
Amphibian Stage's annual Spark Fest goes into its second weekend with four more events through Sunday. There will be developmental readings of through a glass darkly by Erin Malone Turner, The Amazing, Fabulous and Spectacular Untruths of Juan Garcia by Kathleen Culebro, and Haunted Play (A Tale of the Naïve and Macabre) by Steven Dietz, as well as a Playwriting Masterclass by Dietz.
Improv Arlington presents Michael Blackson
Michael Blackson has been called one of the most original stand-up comics in the country. Also known as "The African King of Comedy," he was inspired by the stand up comedy of Eddie Murphy and began to develop his comedic talent in the unkind comedy clubs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Blackson has been entertaining audiences all across the country and around the globe for more than a decade. He'll perform six times through Sunday at Improv Arlington.
Friday, July 22
Magnolia at the Modern: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
Marcel is an adorable one-inch-tall shell who ekes out a colorful existence with his grandmother Connie and their pet lint, Alan. Once part of a sprawling community of shells, they now live alone as the sole survivors of a mysterious tragedy. But when a documentary filmmaker discovers them amongst the clutter of his Airbnb, the short film he posts online brings Marcel millions of passionate fans, as well as unprecedented dangers and a new hope at finding his long-lost family. The film will screen seven times through Sunday at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen in concert
Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen are two Texas originals who have played around the Dallas-Fort Worth area countless times. They've found a kindred spirit in each other, teaming up for three albums — 2015's Hold My Beer, Vol. 1, 2016's Watch This, and 2020's Hold My Beer, Vol. 2. Naturally, they'll play at Billy Bob's Texas (in the newly refurbished showroom) on both Friday and Saturday as part of their "Hold My Beer and Watch This" tour.
Saturday, July 23
National Day of the American Cowboy
At the 16th annual National Day of the American Cowboy, visitors can celebrate the history and heritage of the American Cowboy, giving them the opportunity to experience and appreciate the role cowboys and cowgirls of all ethnicities have played and continue to play in everyday life. The celebration in the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards features a Cowboy celebration parade, two Cowtown Cowboy Rodeos, Old West comedy gunfight shows, live music, calf roping training, chuck wagon Cowboy poetry, armadillo races, and more. Riscky's Barbeque will also present their annual Rib-Eating Competition as part of the daylong activities.
Globe Life Field presents Family Field Day
Family Field Day at Globe Life Field in Arlington is an action-packed day of family-friendly activities. Guests are invited directly on the field to experience a wide array of events, including a mini home run derby, a chance to run the bases, play catch on the field, and dozens of yard games and inflatables. Attendees will also be able to explore the home of the Texas Rangers with self-guided tours while the team is on the road.
Casa Mañana presents Steel Magnolias
In Chinquapin, Louisiana, anybody who is anyone has her hair done in Truvy’s beauty salon. Helped by her eager new assistant, Annelle, the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to the town’s rich curmudgeon, Ouiser; Miss Clairee, an eccentric millionaire with a raging sweet tooth; and the local social leader, M’Lynn, whose daughter, Shelby is getting married. Steel Magnolias draws on the underlying strength — and love — that gives its characters the special quality to make them truly touching, funny, and marvelously amiable company in good times and bad. The production will run through July 31 at Casa Mañana Theatre.
R.J. Vandygriff: The Cowboy Ain't Dead Yet!
R.J. Vandygriff presents The Cowboy Ain't Dead Yet!, an inspiring one-man musical comedy about the most fascinating character to ever ride across the pages of history, the American Cowboy. Through songs, stories and poems, Joe Texas shares the true story of the cowboy, not the Hollywood version. He sings, twirls a rope, plays harmonica, banjo, guitar, and throws in a few dance steps. The production will have three performances at Downtown Cowtown at the Isis through Sunday.